The Pac-12 Bubble Rankings For February 13th


Only 5 conference games remain. Everyone who needed to win this weekend to keep their at-large hopes alive, did so. The Pac-12 is now starting to spread out into three clear groups. Five teams occupy the 1st tier of “decency”. These five are the only teams with a realistic chance to get to the Big Dance and all of them still have a chance to claim the regular season conference title. Of these five teams, I think there is actually a shot that four of them make the tournament, depending on how things play out. Three seems the more likely scenario though, with three others in the NIT and two in the CBI.

Four teams occupy the 2nd tier of mediocrity and have a chance at the NIT or CBI. The 3rd tier is occupied by three horrible teams who would just like to get the season over with. From this point forward, I will rank the teams in order of their likelihood of making the NCAA tournament and their possible seeding. A lot can happen between now and Selection Sunday, but if Joe Lunardi can do it in November, why not me in February?

—– Possible NCAA Tournament Teams —–

1) California (20-6 overall, 10-3 in Pac-12, RPI 36)- California is really starting to separate themselves from the Pac-12, if not in the conference standings, than in national perception. They are as close to a lock for the NCAA tournament as the conference has had all season. I suspect they’ll end up as a mid-range seed. They continue to win games they should and are avoiding bad losses. If they can beat Oregon this week, they can knock off one of the four contenders for the title and solidify their resume.

Probability of making the NCAA Tournament: 85% Projected Seed: 7

2) Oregon (18-7 overall, 9-4 in Pac-12, RPI 64)- Oregon is starting to put together a resume that might just get them into the tournament. By getting the home sweep, including embarrassing the Huskies, they are putting themselves in position not just for an NCAA tournament berth, but also the Pac-12 title. Their game this week against Cal will be huge. A win and they will be right up at the top of the league and with a chance for an at-large bid. Lose and they’ll really need to take care of business the rest of the way.

Probability of making the NCAA Tournament: 55% Projected Seed: 10

3) Washington (17-8 overall, 10-3 in Pac-12, RPI 73)- After their embarrassing loss in Eugene, the Huskies did turn around in Corvallis and actually score more than 30 in the 1st half (31). While they continued to show their weaknesses, they got the win and that’s all that matters at this stage. They made free throws when they needed to and scored just enough to keep Oregon State from catching them late. They struggled to deal with Oregon State’s half court press and 1-3-1 zone, but in this chess match of a game in which both sides looked bad, the Huskies did just enough. Give the Huskies credit for keeping their composure on the road and thus remain at the top of the conference standings.

Probability of making the NCAA Tournament: 55% Projected Seed: 10

4) Arizona (18-8 overall, 9-4 in Pac-12, RPI 66)- The Wildcats may have gotten a scare from Utah this week, but the Huskies know what that’s like…Point being is that the Wildcats are still winning games and starting to put themselves in position to get an at-large berth. The Wildcats have one of the most favorable schedules left the rest of the way, with just one tough game in Seattle against the Huskies. Even if they lose that, they could go into the conference tournament at 22-9, which might be good enough…

Probability of making the NCAA Tournament: 45% Projected Seed: 12

5) Colorado (17-8 overall, 9-4 in Pac-12, RPI 74)- The Buffaloes are going to have a hard time getting to the NCAA tournament. They have one of the toughest remaining schedules in the conference. They have a huge game at home against Cal and a road game against Oregon still. If they could win one or even both of them, it would be huge for their resume and the conference standings.

Probability of making the NCAA Tournament: 40% Projected Seed: 12 – play-in game (or #2 seed in NIT)

—– Likely NIT Teams —-

6) Stanford (17-8 overall, 7-6 in Pac-12, RPI 107)- The once vaunted 10-2 Cardinal lost 5 of 6 until playing USC Sunday night. Yet, they remain #6 in the Power Rankings. Yes, that is how bad the conference is right now. Not only are Stanford’s NCAA tourney hopes dead, the NIT is starting to look unlikely unless they pull themselves together.

Probability of making the NCAA Tournament: 10% Projected Seed: #3 seed in NIT – host 1st round game

7) UCLA (14-11 overall, 7-6 in Pac-12, RPI 123)- UCLA continues to muddle around, playing better, but not really getting on a roll. It’s unlikely there will be any post-season for the Bruins, but they definitely do have the talent to win 4-games in 4 days to take the Pac-12 tournament. So, anything is possible.

Probability of making the NCAA Tournament: 5% Projected Seed: #7 seed in NIT

—– Possible CBI Teams —–

8) Oregon State (15-10 overall, 5-8 in Pac-12, RPI 136)- Oregon State will have a hard time trying to get into the post-season. They finish the season with several tough games including Cal, Stanford, Oregon.

9) Washington State (13-12 overall, 5-8 in Pac-12, RPI 150)- There is no team that epitomizes the .500 club better than the Cougars. They seem to win every other game, almost like clockwork. The last time they won or lost more than two-in-a-row was way back in December when they won 6 straight against teams like Grambling, Idaho, and Pepperdine.

—– Not Going Anywhere —–

10) Arizona State (8-17 overall, 4-9 in Pac-12, RPI 229)- The Sun Devils got revenge for their upset loss to Utah. They have also beaten Washington State, Oregon State, and USC this year. Yeah, that’s what you would expect from the 10th place team in the conference.

11) Utah (5-20 overall, 2-11 in Pac-12, RPI 274)- Utah keeps losing, but the losses are no longer by 20+ and they are keeping games in the single digits or low teens. That’s progress.

12) USC (6-19 overall, 1-11 in Pac-12, RPI 228)- 341st in the nation in scoring at just 53 ppg. That says it all.